Seasonal Avifauna Reponses to Fuel Reduction Treatments in the Upper Piedmont of South Carolina: Results From Phase 1 of the National Fire and Fire Surrogate StudyThis article is part of a larger document. View the larger document here.
We examined avian species and assemblage responses to prescribed burns and thinning in a southeastern Piedmont pine and mixed pine-hardwood forest as part of the National Fire and Fire Surrogate Study (NFFS) examining the effects of fuel reduction on forest health. Point counts conducted during the non-breeding and breeding seasons of 2000-2002 showed that winter bird species abundance and evenness (J’) did not change significantly between pre- and posttreatment winter surveys. However, bird species richness increased significantly between years. No differences were found between treatments for species abundance, richness, or evenness during the breeding season. However, foliage-gleaning and canopy-nesting breeding species were detected significantly more often in thinned than burned or control sites. Nest searches and monitoring found 79 nests (thin, n = 30; burn, n = 27; control, n = 22) with a 49-percent failure rate over the 2-year period. Most of these failures (41 percent) occurred in thinned stands.